The essential purpose of the accreditation process is to provide a professional judgment of the quality of a college or school of pharmacy's professional program(s) and to encourage continued improvement thereof. Accreditation concerns itself with both quality assurance and quality enhancement. The responsibilities of the ACPE's accreditation program are:
1. To advance the standards of pharmacy education in the United States and associated commonwealths.
2. To formulate the educational, scientific and professional principles and standards for professional programs in pharmacy which a college or school of pharmacy is expected to meet and maintain for accreditation of its programs, and to revise these principles and standards when deemed necessary or advisable.
3. To formulate policies and procedures for the accreditation process.
4. To evaluate the professional program(s) of any college or school of pharmacy within or beyond its national geographic scope that requests accreditation of its program(s).
5. To provide a list of accredited professional programs of colleges and schools of pharmacy for the use of state boards of pharmacy or appropriate state licensing agencies in pharmacy, other interested agencies, and the public, and to revise such directory annually or as frequently as deemed desirable.
6. To provide assurances to constituencies that the professional programs which have been accredited continue to comply with standards, and therefore to conduct periodic evaluations in a manner similar to that for original accreditation.
7. To assist the advancement and improvement of pharmacy education as well as prerequisites and procedures for licensure and to provide a basis for inter-institutional relationships.
Accreditation of professional degree programs in pharmacy provides a national basis for quality assurance. In so doing, the accreditation process serves multiple constituencies:
For boards of pharmacy, accreditation provides a reliable basis for decision-making with regard to licensure.
For the public, accreditation assures conformity to general expectations of the profession and identification of colleges and schools of pharmacy which have explicitly undertaken activities directed at improving the quality of their professional programs, and are carrying them out successfully. Accreditation also assures improvement in the professional services available to the general public in that accredited programs are expected to modify their requirements to reflect advances in knowledge and practice.
For students and prospective students, accreditation assists in the transfer of credits among institutions and provides an assurance that a program has been found to provide satisfactory educational preparation for licensure and practice.
For institutions of higher education, accreditation provides a framework for self-evaluation and improvement as well as opportunity for external review and counsel. Accreditation also provides a basis for the decision-making of private and public agencies, including the Department of Education, in the awarding of grants and loans.
For the profession, accreditation provides a means for practitioner participation in the setting of requirements for preparation to enter the profession.